In honour of Tante Martha, I am sharing her own recipe of Apple Strudel. There are of course many variations of apple strudel and this recipe was created/adapted by Tante using the ingredients that she had in hand in her garden. So originally, the apples, Ländle apples, would have been gathered from the apple orchard behind her house and the walnuts from the tree in her garden – all in Vorarlberg, Austria.
The pastry would have originally been made from scratch but with the modern age, even Tante found that it was very handy to always have some ready made puff pastry in the fridge/freezer. She related this recipe to me in Vorarlberger dialect, so there may have been a bit of adaptation from my translation :). The key thing which I only found out after trying it out at home is how the apples and the pastry were laid out, and only when I had the opportunity on one occasion to watch her make apple strudel did I finally realise why my apple strudels were not so successful previously.
Firstly, lying the tea cloth on your work surface, flour it liberally on the top side. Un-package the puff pastry (I usually use a pre-rolled version) and flour the puff pastry liberally on both sides. If using pre-rolled puff pastry, re-fold and re-roll it out. If not, then just roll out the pastry till it fits within the tea cloth. The pastry should be rolled out into a single thin layer.
Using the cored & peeled apples, grate them by hand or by food processor. Scatter over the entire rolled out puff pastry evenly. Leave a gap at the edges to seal. Scatter the grated walnuts, and breadcrumbs over the apples. Then scatter the raisins, sugar and cinnamon over that. Lastly the Zuger kirsch if you are using some.
Begin to roll the mixture starting at one end, using the tea cloth as an aid, so that when rolled up, it resembles a large sausage/pillow. It doesn’t matter if you have a cylindrical pillow as the weight will flatten it out when cooking. When the end of the tea cloth is reached, transfer it, using the tea cloth, onto a lined baking tray (foil or greaseproof paper) that will fit the strudel (roll it off the cloth onto the tray). Pinch the ends in using some beaten egg and brush the top and sides of the pastry with beaten egg. Set in the oven to cook at 160 degrees centigrade for an hour or so till the pastry is cooked & brown.
Take out and set aside to cool. Slice, scatter the top of the pastry with icing sugar, and serve with pouring cream or double cream whipped with sugar.
Enjoy! I like to have this Tante style with a nice cup of hot coffee, using some of the whipped sugared double cream in the coffee as well.
Pre heat oven to 160 degrees centigrade
320g/500g puff pastry
8 apples, Royal Gala/Russet/Braeburn type variety, cored, peeled and grated
200g walnuts grated
200g or more castor sugar
50-100g semmel breadcrumbs
150g raisins or sultanas (optional)
2 tblsp zuger kirsch (optional)
1 beaten egg
aluminium foil or greaseproof paper
1. The amount of sugar used is really dependant on the apple variety sweetness and your own tastes. I generally scatter enough sugar to cover the grated apples liberally.
2. Semmel is a type of bread roll, and the breadcrumbs from this can be obtained from Germanic food shops or if you can get it fresh even better! If a substitution is used the breadcrumbs must be extremely fine. The amount of breadcrumbs used is determined by the amount of water/juice the grated apples produce. Just enough is used to soak this juice up, too much and the strudel will become pasty and lose the apple taste.
3. Raisins: I use raisins but this is totally optional and not originally in Tante’s recipe though she mentioned the possibility of including.
4. Zuger kirsch: I generally only use one type in cooking/baking: Zuger kirsch from Etter.